Beleaguered South African operator Cell C has reportedly attracted the attention of China Mobile – although local rival Telkom SA is also believed to be interested in an acquisition.
Local news outlet ITWeb claimed that an acquisition agreement with China Mobile was “imminent”. China Mobile is the world’s largest mobile operator, but this status is derived almost exclusively from its home market. China Mobile expanding into South Africa would shake up the market dramatically, given the operator’s size and resources.
In a statement to ITWeb, Cell C said: “We cannot comment on behalf of China Mobile who may be in negotiations with various mobile operators around the world. Cell C will keep the door open to any conversations that will assist the company’s future viability.”
However, Telkom has a longstanding interest in acquiring Cell C, and while discussions between the operators collapsed earlier this year, TechCentral reports that Telkom is now expressing renewed interest in an acquisition.
Cell C registered a loss of ZAR8 billion ($527 million) for the fiscal year ending 31st May, and a merger may help to reverse its fortunes. It is also believed to be holding talks with investors with a view to improving its financial predicament.